Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    April 14, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

3:30 pm
come to the museum finally, when it finally opens for tours, they're going to discover clara barton's office just like richard lyons did when he came here in 1997. the goal is to re-create the space as if clara and/or her clerks had just left the space for some reason, so when you come back, you are coming to the missing soldiers office. >> this is the first of a two-part look at clara barton's missing soldiers office. the planned museum and reconstructed boardinghouse is a partnership between the government services administration and the national museum of civil war medicine. you can view this and other "american history tv" programs at our website, cspan.org/history. david eisenhower and julie nixon famously met as children
3:31 pm
at the 1957 inauguration of his grandfather, president dwight d. eisenhower and her father, vice president richard nixon. julie nixon married david eisenhower in 1968, just before her father took his own presidential oath of office. they recently collaborated on the book "going home to glory, a memoir of life with dwight d. eisenhower 1961 to 1969." in this conversation at the lyndon b. johnson presidential library, the eisenhowers recall ike's presidency and later retirement in gettysburg, pennsylvania, the relationship between ike and his vice president and the reasons that propelled richard nixon to make another run at the presidency after his close loss to john f. kennedy in 1960. this program is 1 hour and 15 minutes. >> well, good evening, and welcome to our program tonight. i'm don carlton, and i have to get my glasses out or i won't be able to see what i'm talking about.
3:32 pm
and i'm the director of the university's briscoe center for american history. the briscoe center is delighted to join with the lbj library to co-sponsor the program featuring david and julie eisenhower's fascinating book "going home to glory, a memoir of life with dwight d. eisenhower, from 1961 to 1969." it's a fabulous book. when lbj director mark updegrove asked me to xo sponsor the program, i jumped at the chance. we always enjoy partnering with our partners at the lbj library, but our topic tonight president dwight eisenhower is an added attraction for us. the briscoe center's divisions include the sam rayburn museum located up in the north texas town of bonham and the center is the repository for sam rayburn's
3:33 pm
papers. sam rayburn served as the democratic party's minority leader in the house of representatives during the first two years of eisenhower's first term, and he served as speaker of the house for the remainder of eisenhower's presidency from january, 1955, until january, 1961. although rayburn and eisenhower had more than their share of legislative disagreements, basically over domestic policy, they nevertheless had a very warm personal friendship. eisenhower was born in denison, texas, which was in rayburn's congressional district. in private meetings at the white house, rayburn often joked with president eisenhower about rayburn being eisenhower's congressman. mr. sam who was eight years older than eisenhower also
3:34 pm
called eisenhower catton when they had private meetings. that was a habit he picked up from cactus jack garner when he referred to him as capt every time they were in private meetings. they had middle of the road philosophies and a strict sense of national duty and both understood the necessity of legislative compromise. often after the congress had adjourned for the day, rayburn and senate majority leader lyndon johnson would slip out of the capitol and be driven to the white house, where out of sight of the news media they would enter the secluded southwest entrance and be escorted to the president's family's quarters on the second floor. there over drinks the two democratic leaders and president eisenhower would discuss current issues, and they would work out
3:35 pm
informal bipartisan strategies for furthering public policy. sam rayburn, lyndon johnson, and dwight eisenhower were political partisans from two different parties. but they always put country first and party second. in november, 1961, 10 months after the end of eisenhower's presidency, sam rayburn died at his home in texas. among the mourners at mr. sam's funeral at the little baptist church in bonham was dwight david he'sen hour, sho en eisenn this famous photograph with lyndon johnson. serving as interviewer and moderator for our program tonight is my good friend mark updegrove. mark needs to introduction to this audience, but i to want to
3:36 pm
say something about his work that is particularly relevant to this program. mark, who is one of the leading presidential historians in this country is the author of the book "second acts, presidential lies and legacies after the white house." which, as the title implies, examines the post-presidential experiences of all the presidents who served after franklin roosevelt, concluding with bill clinton. one of my favorite chapters in that book is the one that mark wrote about the years that dwight eisenhower spent after the white house. so, mark will be interviewing our special guests, david and julie eisenhower. david eisenhower is the grandson of president dwight eisenhower, and his father, john eisenhower, is a prominent military historian. david is the author of "the new
3:37 pm
york times" best seller "eisenhower at war," which was a finalist for the pulitzer prize in history in 1986. he currently serves as the director of the institute for public service at the annenberg public policy center at the university of pennsylvania, and he is a senior researcher fellow at the annenberg school for communication. david eisenhower has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and committees, including the advisory committee on presidential libraries. a graduate of amherst college, david eisenhower earned his law degree from the george washington university law school in 1976. our other special guest is david eisenhower's co-author, julie nixon eisenhower, who just happens to be david eisenhower's wife.
3:38 pm
she's also the second daughter of president richard nixon. julie is also a best-selling author, editor, and a recognized public speaker on such subjects as the presidency, women in polit politics, and life in the white house. she began her career as a writer for and then assistant managing editor of "the saturday evening post." julie eisenhower's books include "pat nixon, the untold story" as well as special people, and jew "julie eisenhower's cookbook for children." julie eisenhower has served on many special boards and has served as a special trustee for the nixon center and the eisen here medical center. after graduating from smith college she earned a master of
3:39 pm
arts from catholic university of america. when david's book "eisenhower at war" and julie's book "pat nixon the untold story" with published in 1986, it was the first time a husband and wife each had a book appearing simultaneously on "the new york times" nonfiction best sellers his. please join me in welcoming mark updegrove and david and julie eisenhower. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. >> well, julie and david, welcome. we are delighted to have you here tonight. i should say welcome back because you were among the very special guests of this library
3:40 pm
when we opened our doors on may 22nd, 1971, and you accompanied your mother and father here. your father was president at the time. i wonder if you have any memories of that day. >> i remember it like yesterday. linda's here, lucy's here, harry middleton i think is here. harry, i can't see you through the lights, i'm looking for you, there he is, still teaching at university of texas. that was a great day. and i remember the large crowds, and we saw a picture of it in a holding room just as we were getting ready to come in. the precise date was about may 22. >> may 22. >> 1971? >> 1971. >> and this is eight weeks after i graduated from naval osc school, and i graduated from warfare school. and i'm getting ready to ship out. >> your hair has grown back. >> this is my last leave before going overseas. i remember the date very well.
3:41 pm
>> i think one of the things that's perhaps not as well known is that the johnsons and nixons were good friends and we saw president and mrs. johnson quite often during the presidency and linda and chuck were living in washington and my parents used to have the church services. and so linda and chuck were often there. and i just have a very warm feeling for the entire johnson family and really we're here tonight because of linda and lucy. they are very giving and caring people, and i'm just proud they're my friends. >> well, we appreciate that. and we're delighted to have you back here. you've been very good to this library and we thank you for that. behind us is a picture of your first meeting. >> uh-oh. >> in 1957. >> this was the first time we ever met. >> that's where you met, at the inauguration of president dwight
3:42 pm
eisenhower and vice president richard nixon, and it began a relationship that seems to have lasted. can you talk about how your relationship evolved from that time. >> well, we really just met as kids and saw each on other i think twice. and then we happened to get together again when we went off to college because mamie eisenhower was a very romantic person, and she was just insisted that david look me up when she found out -- >> i wasn't going to do it either. i was at amherst, she was at smith seven miles away. and i think there had actually been a news story that we would be going to schools somewhat together. i didn't want to put her on the spot. finally mamie did prevail on me to do this. and so i went over. liked her tremendously. went back and called on her about six weeks later and had
3:43 pm
one of these experiences that suggests kind of the obstacles that are posed to a relationship like this. smith had a proctor system, and i can remember presenting myself to the proctor, a student, you know, with the horn-rimmed glasses and long straight hair, she was a bio major and i walked up to her and i said i'm david eisenhower and i'd like to see julie nixon. and she gave me a long look and said, well, my name is harry truman. i persisted, and it worked. >> now, when your grandmother wanted you to meet, did she have an eye toward courtship? >> no doubt about it. >> from the very beginning. >> oh, yes. >> i saw mamie at a funeral a month before i went off to smith and i had also seen the eisenhowers at palm desert. she was a fun person. charm bracelets, skirts. >> we were secretly engaged within a year of meeting in college. >> it was a whirlwind courtship.
3:44 pm
>> whirlwind, and my grandmother was in on it the whole way, she was in on the secret and provided the ring and everything. should i have admitted that? >> yes, sure. >> when you did get married, your grandfather in law gave you that picture and signed it. what is the caption? >> for julie nixon who even then seems to have unknowingly to have acquired an admirer. it really is cute. >> you have a shiner in that picture. >> i had a black eye from a sledding accident. washington had had a huge snowstorm. i lost control of my sled, went into a tree, and i think dave was interested in the black eye. >> lucy and linda would know exactly where this picture was taken. this is the north lawn of the white house where the presidential reviewing stand is during the inaugural. i can remember the inaugural of 1957 very vividly and it's really the beginning of i would say my engagement with the
3:45 pm
eisenhower presidency, my grandfather's presidency and all the people who were involved in it. this was an inauguration staged after eisenhower's landslide re-election in 1956 which coincided with one of the most dangerous intervals in american and in international history. this was the confluence of the hungarian rebellion of 1956 and the soviet invasion of hungary which coincides with the british, french, and israeli invasion of egypt and the suez affair in 1956. so, as a result, one thing i remember vividly about 1957, take this kind of a start point, rocket after rocket after rocket, military unit after another, we put our arsenal on display in what i guess the -- kind of like a may day parade. >> just like the soviets. >> like the soviets did. to remind the world that the united states was standing tall and that we were standing by our
3:46 pm
friends, and it was a spectacular inaugural. one of its kind i think. and every one of them has had a different meaning, but that's kind of where we start right there. >> well, you get married. you know that your father is about to become president when you get married. your father tries to talk you in to a white house wedding. and you opt against that. >> he actually just offered. would you like to wait. we just didn't have any interest in doing that. because we wanted to have one last private event before the presidency began. >> i think it was something that sustained us throughout 1968. we made a pact and, again, linda and lucy i think would appreciate this, and that was, we were going into an election year and i think that richard nixon had lost in 1960 and he had lost for governorship in 1962. i think that all of us thought that this was an uphill fight, and we resolved in january of 1968 that win or lose, we were
3:47 pm
going to have a great party in december. and as the -- >> when we got married. >> as the election unfolded i think we really clung to that, that there's something that we can really look forward to right around the bend, and that became important to us. and so i think we were -- we just sort of kept our own word to ourselves, isn't that it? >> right. >> that we were going to celebrate it in a certain sort of way. >> right. >> and the election worked out, but it was a wonderful party before the nixon presidency began as it turned out. >> and the only thing, david, that your grandfather objected to in the union when you got married was your hair. >> is that right? >> can you talk about that a little bit? >> well, he offered me -- he was worried, i think, i think he thought that appearance was sort of destiny. and this is the late '60s, you know, hairstyles are getting kind of wild. so, i had a -- i think he
3:48 pm
disapproved, i was pretty conventional, but he disapproved of most of the haircuts that i got and i had sort of a $5, or $10 offer as a sort of incentive to keep it short. i saw so much of him in the period that i never allowed anything to get out of hand so -- >> president nixon in his memoir i believe says it was $100 and he also says that yours was the shortest hair among your groomsmen, and he further said that your grandfather didn't pay up. >> no, he didn't. >> it wasn't short enough. >> it wasn't short enough. >> this wasn't a negotiation. he was looking for a buzz i think. >> letourne's talk about your grandfather for a moment. it was a bona fide american hero who happens to be president of the united states and he's your grandfather. what was it like to have dwight eisenhower in your life? >> i think i try to convey it in "going home to glory" the question is when do you become aware of the fact that you're in presence of something very unusual.
3:49 pm
well, i think you have to recognize two things. first of all, you have to be around situations that are interesting, and, second, you have to have some sort of contrast or frame of reference. i think when i was going to school in ft. bellfort, i was an army brat, and going to school on the post in alexandria and by day going to a regular school with classmates and so forth and then by night and over the weekends realizing i was walking into this amazing phenomenon of the presidency. plane flights to all kinds of exotic places and vacations in the high rockies and in newport and all the people surrounding the president of the united states and all of the anticipation surrounding figures and the crowds. that contrast with going to school, i'd say 7 or 8 i became aware of -- i was very aware. my first memory of the world, in
3:50 pm
fact, i have a handful, but these are summer of 1951. i'm really dating myself. but i have pictures in my mind of dwight eisenhower boarding an airplane, this is military uniform. i can remember the palace hotel where we spent the summer of 1951. he was commander of the nato alliance then. and i think even then i had information. julia probably has similar stories and the johnson girls, of course, grew up as young children in washington. >> i think my memory is that i was -- i don't know how old i was, 6 or 7, and my father and i were reading together and we were looking at a picture of presidents. my father was the vice president. and we got to abraham lincoln, and under his portrait it said america's first republican president. and i said to my father, was george washington a democrat? i was so upset. very upsetting.
3:51 pm
>> david, you have chronicled your grandfather's life, most notably as don mentioned, in eisenhower's war, which is nominated for a pulitzer prize. what do you find most remarkable about your grandfather? >> mark, we have something in common. you've written a book which chronicles post presidencies, which i think is important. in the post presidency that we cover in"going home to glory," i think this is where character is most accessible and stands out. the president is surrounded by aides. the wartime commander is surrounded by aides. to put my grandfather in that capacity, i had to study his life. and so i was drawn to the world war ii subject.
3:52 pm
in every life there is an event that is decisive for one's personal convictions in one's future. there is a point in dwight eisenhower's life, the fall of 1943, where everything that happens to him to that point is interesting. but nothing specifically prepared him for the responsibilities he would undertake between november of 1943 and may of 1945. by contrast, what happened to him in those 18 months made him predictable to be president of the united states. so i got to know that eisenhower. through the historical records. the word "i" does not appear. i believe in an introductory statement with my editor, i explained my methodology and explained why i was doing the book. so i am simply -- i don't exist in that book. and this is a dimension of his life that i had to learn through history. by contrast a former president
3:53 pm
and a number of people in this room who have known presidents that worked with them, this is a person you have access to. and so the person, and these are unusual people, the purpose who is driven into the national prominence becomes accessible to you. and i learned so much about that man by being around him in the twilight of his life. the eisenhower of abilene, kansas. the ike born in dennison. he did not admit to being born in dennison when he registered at westpoint. he listed tyler, texas, as his birth place because i believe it's better to be from tyler, right? and switched his first and
3:54 pm
second names. in fact, he became dwight david rather than david dwight, and omitted some details as well. omitted to tell west point he played professional baseball in part of the kansas central league from 1905 to 1910. it was confirmed to me. a maniac companied to dwight eisenhower to a baseball game. he's then a hero and in uniform. i said there were rumors that he had played under the alias. but records show there are two wilsons in the league. i said, which were you? he said the one that can hit. [ laughter ] >> you both collaborated.
3:55 pm
and you talk about how post-presidential chapters being very revealing. and particularly of dwight eisenhower and richard nixon. talk about the presidency. >>ing dwight eisenhower is actually setting a precedent in this book. what we are doing with the 22nd adam is we are telling charismatic, extraordinarily able individuals who in any country in the world might rule for their entire natural life times, we are forcing them to step down after a term or two, and we are not only forcing them to step down and relinquish
3:56 pm
power, we're obliging them to like it. and the democrats seized republicans for a long time. the republicans drove the amendment in 1951 and then suddenly the elected president might have won a third term. dwight eisenhower leaves washington for most persons looking back on january 20th, 1961, the inauguration that day is the opening of a new chapter, brand new. a million people in washington waiting to bring in the new administration. that's of john fitzgerald kennedy. and what we're doing with this chronicle with the other story. and that's the president going home. and going home to a new life, and one that is going to reward him with a certain amount of satisfaction. but i think that i'm proud of the individuals because he carries the role with a great deal of dignity. we're so excited to be here at the johnson library is because of this extraordinary relationship between dwight
3:57 pm
eisenhower and lyndon johnson. this is a historic relationship. and i can just graze the surface of it in the book. the documents behind the story that i tell are very extensive. this is a tale in a highly divided partisan era that we're in now. but it is possible for people to reach across the party divide and to cooperate meaningfully on issues. but i think that lyndon johnson regarded dwight eisenhower as a resource in his office as dwight eisenhower regarded lyndon johnson. so it narrates a friendship. but, mark, but i think i like about it, and why it drew you to the same subject. julia's father said something interesting once. i just happened to be there.
3:58 pm
there was a president unnamed trying to gather another forum of former presidents. he really didn't like this. you know, we all represent something different. i don't think how often we ought to get together. but we all represent something different. taking that comment and extending it slightly. presidents never cease being presidents. they fulfilled a role. lyndon johnson represents a kind of story, of a rising texas. and the dilemma of the south and west in civil rights. he's a great hero. this is a story which is unique from richard nixon, who is the middle class after world war ii. finding its place in the sun.
3:59 pm
and dwight eisenhower, the man from central kansas who makes a historic not in central kansas, but in london and in paris. every president represents something different. and each president as they leave office in some sense, continues in some sense to be president. >> julie, president eisenhower goes back to gettysburg not as president eisenhower but general eisenhower. why was that? >> he made it be known immediately that he would take his title, general of the army, and because although the presidency was a great honor of the highest honor that america can bestow on an individual, and he honored the presidency, the defining time of his life as dave said earlier was world war ii, and the bond that he led. so when you would go up to the

99 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on